I hostessed a birthday today. I’ve put together a birthday for Mom for more years than I can remember. I even used to fly to Reno, when she lived there, to do it. Today, the flame on the candle burned brighter than she did. She’s in her 10th year of Alzheimer’s. We woke her from her morning rest to have lunch and birthday. She started to go back to sleep as we sang the song.
So I packed away candles and food and the table cloth I brought to the place where she resides now. And I watched the aide put her down for a nap, having to diaper her like a child. And my daughter climbed into bed with her to soothe her, for she’s brittle now, must be moved by others.
Her oldest friend called, a quaver in her voice, as she wished Mom happy birthday on the speaker phone and told her she loved her. My son-in-law said, you still have best friends. She didn’t answer. I’m not certain what of the conversation she heard or if she realized it was for her.
What is the meaning of a life? How small it burns at the last. How small we become, feeble ghosts in our own bodies. I do not complain of this. I simply observe. I’m glad my daughter climbed into bed with her. That’s a meaning of a life, isn’t it?
Happy Birthday, Mom.
This kind of tenderness is medicine for everyone. Those near and those who are reading about it.
Your mother may not remember the celebration, but your daughter will. True love.
wow. bittersweet, beautiful, and sad. Yes, you have truly passed the legacy and meaning of love to your daughter, and continue to pass it to us all through your words and pictures – thank you.
Reblogged this on The Inner Path of Photography and commented:
A beautiful piece by a friend of mine, who, as well as being great at teaching us about love, is a wonderful, very accomplished writer.
See her books – subscribe to her blog – you will be inspired.
There are not words to say how much I love your blog and how much it connects me to life and feelings….thanks!!!!!
I cried when I read this, it brought back memories of my mother’s Alzheimer’s. You write so beautifully. Love and miss you!
sweet, touching, sad, loving
My mother is in memory care. She has no short-term memory, and cannot operate a remote control or a telephone any longer; but can carry on a seemingly normal conversation. Last month a dozen people celebrated her 84th birthday with cake, balloons, and funny hats. She had her hair fixed. She looked great in the pictures. My sister told me Momma did not remember the party by the time she returned to her apartment.
I visited Momma on my way to and from Austin last month. The happiest I saw her the whole weekend was when I was leaving. She hugged me and was crying. She said, “You are my oldest, my first born.” I said, “Momma, you have three children, I only have one Momma.” Her face brightened in a heavenly glow. Thinking back, It was a more important moment to me than to her.
Thanks for your entry.